Singer and actor, Selena Gomez has it. Celebrity announcer Nick Cannon has it, too. Along with almost 2 million other Americans, these celebrities suffer from Lupus.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease characterized by several different symptoms. No two lupus patients are alike, so one might have different signs than the other. The Lupus Foundation provides information and support. “We are devoted to solving the mystery of lupus, one of the world’s cruelest, most unpredictable, and devastating diseases while giving caring support to those who suffer from its brutal impact.”
While no two people experience the same effects of the disease, there are thirteen signs most common, in any combination. While they are also signs of other diseases, your doctor should perform tests to rule out other problems.
- Extreme fatigue. The feeling of being tired most of the time is debilitating to sufferers.
- Fever. Some lupus sufferers experience some fever during their flare-ups.
- Headaches. These can be mild or severe.
- Painful and/or swollen joints. Several autoimmune diseases affect joints.
- Anemia. Low numbers of red blood cells or low blood volume can only be determined by drawing blood.
- Swelling. Swelling of extremities (feet, hands), legs, and even around the eyes is another symptom.
- Chest pain. Breathing deeply can cause pain.
- Sensitivity to sun or light.
- Abnormal blood clotting
- Hair loss.
- Ulcers in mouth or nose.
- A butterfly-shaped rash on cheeks or nose.
- Sensitivity to cold. Fingers often turn white or blue when cold.
Lupus is often called “the great imitator” because many of its symptoms are common in other diseases. So, if you experience any of the symptoms listed above, don’t get excited. You have to see your doctor who will run tests to check whether you might have another disease. It’s not helpful or healthy to jump to the conclusion you have lupus if you do experience these symptoms. Only you and your doctor can put the pieces of the puzzle together (and many autoimmune diseases are puzzles) to diagnose your problem.